In Part Six, I went over the ups, downs, pros and cons of parents who manage their kids. In this last installment I will go over the manager / investor archetype. If you would like to read the whole series you can start with the first article here. Our website blog is dedicated to providing educational information for artists and helps us introduce you to our services. If you are interested in music marketing and management services please contact us to see if we are a good fit for you. Either way- please read on.
“With Money Comes Compromise.”
I don’t know where I first heard that, or if I am lifting a fairly famous quote without attribution but this statement has never been more true than in the case of a manager who gets his or her gig with the band because of the ability to invest.
I have often watched this scenario play out, where people who are successful in other industries take a look at our business, make a judgment on the people in the business and decide that they can do it better. What people either don’t know or seem willing to forget is that the music industry can function more like roulette than anything taught in a business class, and many of the rules that govern most other industries seem not to apply. A huge difference is that people in our industry are willing to invest millions of dollars into original music without knowing if there is any demand for it. With that in mind, there are some pros and cons about having an investor who becomes a music manager not based on their experience but because of their ability to fund a career.
Not to state the obvious, but lack of funding is often the biggest stumbling block for artists. If you are fortunate enough to find someone to invest in your career the first thing you need to do is be grateful! The second thing you have to do is to get a complete understanding of what this will cost you in terms of your back end and your creative input. Investors funding art will usually ask you to part with a percentage of your rights and income and often they will provide feedback on the creative aspects of your work whether they are qualified to do so or not.
It can be really difficult if you are just getting by to turn down an investment of any kind regardless of the back-end cost, but I urge you to think of your career not in terms of one day, one week, one year but a lifetime. Is $50,000 worth giving away a percentage of your publishing on anything you ever write for life? I hope not but you never know. That said – go out of your way to understand what you are relinquishing in the future for an investment today. Hire a music lawyer – it’s worth it.
As I have mentioned earlier, part of the problem with an investor turned manager is the distinct possibility that they won’t fully understand the business regardless of their successes in other industries. While the cash is flowing, it can be a fun, but ultimately all investors will look at the ledger and there will need to be some signs of life for the cash to keep flowing.
If you are lucky to have someone like this in your orbit, just make sure you know what this investment will cost you in terms of your possible future earnings, and that you and this person have an understanding and share a common vision for your career; otherwise you could wind up being a death metal group opening up for an Abba tribute band.
That’s the end of our series on music management. More interviews and articles are coming soon. Please reach out if we can be of any help!